SHERIDAN — As the sun sets and begins its descent behind the Bighorn Mountains, Michael Brastrup will continue to throw into the nighttime sky. Long after his teammates go home from another Sheridan track and field practice, Brastrup will continue to stretch, drill, go over footwork and throw.
A practice filled with heaving heavy metal spheres and weighted discs transitions into another practice — a much different one, however.
Brastrup grew up throwing shot put and discus, but it wasn’t until this past summer when he picked up a javelin for the first time.
“My dad told me that I had the body type for it, so I tried it out,” Brastrup said.
Wyoming doesn’t have javelin as a Wyoming High School Athletic Association sanctioned event. Scott Brastrup first introduced his son to the sport with a couple simple drills to see if it was even worth exploring further. Scott Brastrup, who competed in track and field at the collegiate level, saw potential and gave the green light for his son to pursue javelin.
But the transition from shot put and discus proved difficult, at first.
“It’s much more technical than either of those, and the spectrum of going from javelin to discus to shot is a lot different,” Michael Brastrup said. “Shot, you can muscle it. Discus, you can’t quite muscle it, and javelin requires a lot of technique.
“It was kind of a rough start.”
There are four types of javelin throws — power throw, three-step, five-step and full approach. Brastrup grew more and more comfortable with the power throw and soon grew more adept in the other three.
Zach Lurz, a Dakota Wesleyan University track and field coach, made his way to Sheridan on a recruiting trip and upon arrival, Sheridan head coach Taylor Kelting steered Lurz toward Brastrup.
“I told (Lurz) that Michael would be a good candidate for your school,” Kelting said. “I told him that (Michael) is a very competitive individual that’s going to get better and better.”
Brastrup told Lurz about his marks in javelin and a scholarship offer soon followed. An event that wasn’t anywhere near Brastrup’s radar a year ago had produced a scholarship offer and a means for Brastrup to chase a lifelong dream.
“I knew I always definitely wanted to do college sports, but I had no idea what I was going to do,” Brastrup said. “I just knew that I wanted to compete at that level.”
Brastrup will get his chance in Mitchell, South Dakota, in his newfound skill. But there’s still much improvement for Brastrup to make having just begun down his avenue in javelin.
“(Michael) hasn’t gotten it down yet,” Scott Brastrup said. “It’s not something you can get down this quickly. Even if he were to stay healthy all throughout college, he still probably by his senior year won’t have it down. It’s just that difficult of an event to do. You’re asking your body to do things that are not normal.”
Michael Brastrup’s path from shot put and disc thrower to javelin tosser is anything but normal, but it still helped the Sheridan Bronc fulfill his college-scholarship dreams.